Cast announced for The House of Blue Leaves, opening April 26

Jon Steinhagen in Raven Theatre's 2015 production of Dividing the Estate (Photo by Dean La Prairie)

Jon Steinhagen in Raven Theatre’s 2015 production of Dividing the Estate
(Photo by Dean La Prairie)

JoAnn Montemurro, co-Artistic Director of Raven Theatre, has announced casting for the company’s upcoming production of The House of Blue Leaves by John Guare. The play will run on the company’s East Stage from April 20 through June 18, 2016 under Montemurro’s direction.

Guare’s dark comedy premiered off-Broadway in 1971 and was revived on-Broadway in 1986 and 2011. Set in Queens, New York during Pope Paul VI’s 1965 visit, struggling songwriter Artie wants to be famous and feel important while his heavily medicated wife Bananas just wants to feel. Can Artie’s old high school buddy, now a Hollywood movie producer, give him a shot at the big time? Or will a blessing from the Pope do the trick? Living means more than just survival to these misfits in this insanely funny play, which will run from mid-April through mid-June of 2016.
The lead role of Artie will be taken by Jon Steinhagen, the prolific Chicago actor and playwright who was seen most recently at Raven in Dividing the Estate and is also remembered for roles there in The Odd Couple, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and others. Artie’s wife Bananas will be played by Raven ensemble member Kelli Strickland, whose previous roles at Raven include parts inCherry Orchard and Good Boys and True. Artie’s paramour Bunny will be played by Sarah Hayes, who was the Widow Quin in Raven’s The Playboy of the Western World. Artie and Bananas’ misfit son Ronnie will be played by Derek Herman, who appeared in Raven’s Good Boys and True.
Also in the cast are Noah Simon, who was recently seen in The Hypocrites’ Three Sisters and Shattered Globe’s The Rose Tattoo. Simon will play Artie’s movie producer friend Billy with Raven ensemble member Jen Short, of the company’s All My Sons and The Playboy of the Western World, taking the role of Billy’s girlfriend Corrinna. Completing the cast are Kristen Williams, Shariba Rivers, Sophia Menendian, Bob Gerics and Conor Clark. Understudies are Lauren Gilbert, Tehilla Newman and Elaine Small.
The production and design team include Jeff Award winning designers Ray Toler (scenic design), Diane D. Fairchild (lighting design) and David Woolley (fight choreography) along with Joelle Beranek (costume design), Mary O’Dowd (properties design and set dressing) and Joe Court (sound design). The production team includes Kiley Morgan (stage manager), Aaron Shapiro (production manager), Bob Gerics (assistant stage manager), Anna Sung-En Medill (assistant director), Conor Clark (technical director), Kendra Thulin (dialect coach), Merje Veski (scenic artist) and Jessica Doyle (master electrician).
The House of Blue Leaves
By John Guare
Directed by JoAnn Montemurro
East Stage
Previews: Wednesday, April 20 through Saturday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 24 at 3:00 p.m. and Monday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. Preview prices are $25.00
Opening Night: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Performances continue through June 18, 2016
Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. beginning Friday, April 29, 2016 (no show Thursday, April 28, 2016).
All performances on Raven’s East Stage
6157 N. Clark St. (at Granville), Chicago
Nearest El station Granville Red Line, Buses: #22 (Clark), #36 (Broadway), #151 (Sheridan), #155 (Devon), #64 (Peterson).
Tickets: $42.00 ($39.00 if purchased online), Seniors $37.00 ($34.00 if purchased online) and students/teachers/military are $18.00 ($17.00 if purchased online). Groups of 10 or more are $21 per person for Thursday and Friday performances and $25 per person for Saturday and Sundayperformances. Student groups are $12.00 per person for groups of 10 or more for Thursday andFriday performances.
Tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 773-338-2177.